Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics


Avoiding Exploitation in Clinical Research

a1 Bioethics Centre at the University of Cape Town, South Africa


Clinical research has become a burgeoning activity in recent years, largely stimulated by the pharmaceutical industry's interest in new drugs with high marketing profiles. Several other forces fuel this thrust: the increasing dependence of academic medical institutions on research funding from industry; the need for large, efficient multicenter trials to obtain reliable and statistically significant results in the shortest possible time for drug registration purposes; and access to research subjects in “developing” countries. The intense interest in HIV/AIDS research and recent controversies about revisions to the Helsinki Declaration, which have been seen by some to be motivated by the desire to facilitate exploitative research in “developing” countries, have stimulated renewed interest in the ethics of clinical research.